In Which the Prof Discovers Once Again that He Is in the Right Line of Work

Although I am free of teaching duties until June, I wandered over to campus this morning to take care of some paperwork and to attend the first of the summer cookouts for faculty and staff we have on campus most years. This meant that I was in my office when my friend Justin swung by.

In the course of our chat, I mentioned that I would like to exchange my office desk for this:

But then it occurred to me that I really want to have that affixed to a mobility rig so that I can travel the halls in full Bond Villain mode. And from there, I realized that the cupholder in the current configuration could be replaced by a holder for the necessary white Persian cat. Which in turn, led me to a famous bit from Monty Python:

And that brought us to a pause, because while Justin and I are both big fans of the Pythons, neither of us actually knew the allusion Mr. Chapman is making there. We knew there had to be one, because even MPFC only was good for x amount of non sequitur, and this seemed like (x+3).

So I did a little hunting, and I believe that Chapman nicked the line, which was apparently a staple of British stage comedy. But why? How did “Dead, and never called me mother!” become a tag line?

Well, it turns out that the line is from a stage adaptation of a melodramatic Victorian novel (if that isn’t a tautology, he snickered) called East Lynne. While the line doesn’t appear in the book, it apparently was a three-hanky special on the stage, and it is reported that the play ran somewhere in the UK and/or U.S. on any given Saturday night for a forty-year period.

Ellen_Price_Wood_small

Ellen Price Wood wrote East Lynne. Fun for the whole family! (Photo via WIkipedia)

Now as it happens, the workstation that prompted this entire business costs a bit more than my department’s annual budget, so I guess I’ll have to keep waiting, but I learned something today, and the cookout was really good, so the day hasn’t been wasted. And I hope yours is going nicely as well.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Culture, Education, Literature, Why I Do What I Do. Bookmark the permalink.

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